The Broken Orb: Scattered Bits of Light in a Shattered Mirror

If the world was ever one thing, it was this: a fluid, molten sphere that reflected back all existence at a single glance. Every being that looked into this mirror saw more than themselves. They saw the totality of existence. The lines of sight were not linear, but they were clearer than any eye could see. They warped and wrapped and dove through time and space with a single glance of the heart.

But something went wrong. Perhaps the orb cooled. Perhaps the beings who looked into it cooled. But the orb cracked into a million pieces. A single moment splintered it apart, sending separations through it like black veins, and the light that it reflected back to the world was scattered.

The Shattered Mirror

Our mirror is a cobweb work of irregular angles and sharp-as-knife edges. Now, we can only see what’s in front of us. If we look too far to left or right, up or down, the image cuts short and we fall into an ink-black void that holds the shards together.

Sometimes, if we stand on tippy-toe, we can get a glimpse of another fragment. “Ah, there is something else!” we say. “But what is it?”

That being feels so alien, so disconnected from us. We can’t find a way to synthesize it with our own vision, so we reduce it to its lowest state. “That is no human over there; it is merely a mass of atoms, spun together to give the illusion of a life. Split it apart, and you never had a human in the first place,” we say. But with good humor, we say, “Nonetheless, I hope it does well.”

And then we stop standing on tippy toe, we look straight ahead, and stare into our own faces.

The Scattered Light

“Now this is reality,” we say as we look at our own face. “This is a human. This has dreams. This has a future. This is more than atoms and organs. This is a burning spirit that will change the world.”

But we can not see that this face has all the grotesque horror of a Picasso without the redeeming virtue of creativity. We can’t see that we’ve split out our identities across an array of technologies and groups. Bits of ourselves are lost in the wasteland of America’s servers and America’s history, sitting, dying, suffocating in the past–but alive. Those past identities rip and tear our flesh. There is no possible way to pick up the scattered bits of light and life that we have trailed behind us like chunks of our own flesh.

So, when we look into our small shard of that broken mirror, what we’re left with is blurred out, scattered, unfocused, unsure of what eyes it sees with, what mouth it speaks with, what ears it hears with.

Is it possible to see the world again as a mirrored orb? Perhaps not. Perhaps it never was, not in this age or any age past. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try. That doesn’t mean we slice up our identities like pre-cut cheesecakes and serve them to any grotesque, scattered-light face that pops its head into our lives.

The Mirroring Orb

And I am just as guilty of it as anyone else. So perhaps it’s time I try to focus the light of my own image. And then, maybe–when my own face has become clear, when I can see with my own eyes, hear with my own ears, speak with my own mouth, I can work on repairing the orb.

Even if it never was a molten sphere of pure reflection. I’d like to build it into one. Or perhaps just a small part. The part I can get to in my lifetime. I think that would be a beautiful thing.

Photo by Matthew Fassnacht on Unsplash

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